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Be Glad You’re Working – Record Numbers of Labor Force Dropouts in US History

Record numbers of Americans dropping out of labor force
(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

For the first time in the history of the United States, the number of Americans not part of the available labor force has topped 90 million.

Simply, the labor force is the number of Americans 16 and older who are able to pursue a job or employment.   The number hit 90.4 million-plus this week, the highest in history, and nearly 10 million higher than the number when Obama took office.

Some of the increase is due to retirees who are leaving the workforce and not being replaced by younger people ready to start work.   But that’s only a small percentage of the increase, say experts at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  The BLS charts unemployment, those how are available to work, and other economic job factors.

With the unemployment rate only dropping 0.5% overall since Obama took office,  many adults have simply stopped looking for jobs that don’t exist.   Many of those dropping out have not been able to survive on 30-hour-a-week or less jobs that are exploding to the pending enacting of Obamacare.  In simple terms, hundreds of thousands of workers have simply given up on trying to find a job close to what they once had.

Many businesses, in order to survive significant tax increases and costs, are shifting workers to part-time work.   Not all these jobs are entry-level either,  many are semi-professional and outside the food service or retail industry.

Economic experts say the increase in dropouts from the labor force is also tied to the high unemployment rate, which currently sits at 7.3%.   It was 7.8% the day Obama was sworn into office, reached a high of just over 10.0% in October 2009, and has fluctuated since then.    While it has dropped slightly,  most of the growth has been in part-time or lower-sector jobs, but not industrial or highly skilled positions.


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